CenterBeam is the latest managed services provider to introduce Apple-centric managed services. The CenterBeam effort focuses on help desk services, endpoint management and security for Mac OS and Apple iOS -- the operating system that drives iPhones and iPads. Meanwhile, Apple is striving to recruit 1,000 channel partners to service and support iOS devices multiple sources tell MSPmentor.

First, the official news from CenterBeam, which positions itself as a hosted IT services provider. The San Jose-based company has unveiled a "hosted endpoint management and security solution for Apple products."

The service includes anti-virus and anti-spyware components; patch management; electronic software distribution; automated hard drive defragmentation; configuration management; asset tracking; and optional data protection and web filtering. In addition to Windows-centric services, CenterBeam can support Mac OS X 10.4.11, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 as well as iPhone and iPad, the company claims. I don't know CenterBeam's pricing model for the Apple-centric managed services.

Apple's Latest Channel Plan

Meanwhile, it sounds like Apple is striving to recruit and train roughly 1,000 VARs and MSPs to support iOS mobile devices. As part of the effort, Apple met with HTG Peer Groups members in Orlando, Fla., last month. Ironically, the Apple iOS channel partner push surfaces even as Apple attempts to sell more products and services directly to SMB customers. That direct sales effort includes the Apple Joint Venture program.

Still, ignoring customers who have Apple devices doesn't seem to be an option for MSPs. As the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend accelerates, MSPs are being forced to consider mobile device management (MDM) strategies for iPads and iPhones, with some MSPs also introducing managed services for iMac and MacBook devices as well.

Some MSPs have offered Apple-centric managed services for several years. One prime example is Forget Computers of Chicago, MSPmentor has noted multiple times. Also, Core Solutions Ltd. of the UK has an Apple Managed Services focus.

MSP software providers are also addressing remote Apple support. Kaseya, for one, recently introduced mobile device management capabilities that blanket iOS and Google Android. All of the major RMM (remote monitoring and management) software providers are testing or introducing iOS and Android support, MSPmentor believes.